In light of National Pet Month this April, we would like to take this opportunity to raise awareness of responsible pet ownership.
To be a responsible pet owner requires a huge amount of time, energy and patience – but most of all, love! All animals are different, and responsible pet owners provide for their pets’ needs in many ways. What qualities make a pet owner a responsible one? Is there a rulebook that you can follow? Unfortunately there isn’t an official guide, but we do have some tips that we can share with you to help you become the purr-fect pet parent!
Choose your pet wisely
You’ve probably heard the saying “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas”, and this rings true for all kinds of animals! Being a pet owner requires you to invest a huge amount of your time and money, so if you are pondering about adding a furry friend to your family, try to avoid making an impulse decision. Think about these questions: are you 100% committed? Is this pet suited to your home and lifestyle? Is this breed of pet good with children? These are all key questions that you (and your family) will need to consider in advance.
Pet-proof your home
As a pet parent, you should pet-proof your home in the same way you would with a newborn baby. Your furry family member will see the world differently to you, so try to look at things from their perspective. Kneel on the floor and search for things that pose a threat to your pet’s health, such as exposed electrical cords, holes (inside and outside) that could lead your pet to escape (or get trapped!), and small or sharp objects that could be ingested. Unlike us humans, animals like to explore their environments by tasting, so make sure there aren’t any potential choking hazards lying around on the floor. You should also research what products can cause harm to your pets (like bleach) and ensure these are stored away in a safe location.
Prevention is far better than cure
We are sure you will agree that prevention is better than cure and here at Medivet, we are really passionate about the importance of preventative healthcare.
A responsible pet owner does not wait until their pet becomes ill before registering with a vet. Regular visits to the vet enable them to check your pet from nose-to-tail and spot any signs of illness before it’s too late.
Vaccinating your pet prevents the possibility of them contracting a deadly, possibly incurable disease. Neutering can help to prevent the likelihood of them suffering from various forms of cancer. Regular worming can prevent the spread of pesky parasites like Lungworm.
Insurance provides you with peace of mind
Did you know you are more likely to claim on your pet insurance than your car or household policy*?
Pet insurance is an extremely important consideration for all pet owners. Having a good pet insurance policy allows you to concentrate on what’s best for your pet, knowing help is there for the cost of unexpected treatment.
Speak to your local Medivet practice to find out more about the importance of pet insurance.
A walk a day keeps the vet away
We all know that exercise has proven health benefits for our pets, as well as us. Regular exercise is very important for your pet’s well-being and ensuring they get the right kind of exercise will go a long way in keeping your pet happy and healthy. So grab the lead, head out into the fresh air and spend some quality time with your companion.
Make them a member of your family
Pets, especially dogs, need companionship, so be sure to give your furry friend lots of cuddles and attention to make them feel like a valued member of your family.
Make sure they can be identified
We recommend you microchip your pet so that if they go missing or are stolen, they have more of a chance of being reunited with you.
It is now the law for all dogs in the UK to be microchipped by the time they reach 8 weeks old. To make sure you abide by the new legislation, speak to your local vet and get your dog booked in for their microchipping appointment (microchips are free on the Medivet Healthcare Plan). As a responsible pet owner, you will also be required to make sure your contact details in the appropriate database are kept updated.
Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with an ID tag. In the unfortunate event that your pet goes missing, an ID tag with your pet’s name and a contact number will be useful in identifying your pet if he or she is lost or stolen.
Help them socialise and make friends
Your pet will lead a happy and stress-free life if they are comfortable around all types of people, including children, disabled people and the elderly. None of these ordinary people should seem extraordinary to your furry friend.
Socialising your pet from an early age will help prevent behavioural problems in the future, too. Your local Medivet will be able to give you advice on dog training classes or they may even hold their own within their practice – these will help introduce your pet to a variety of people and animals in a controlled environment whilst also strengthening the bond between the pair of you.
Food for thought
By sticking to a regular, healthy diet, you’ll decrease your pet’s chances of falling victim to weight related health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease. There is a wide range of products available depending on your pet’s age, weight and breed, so speak to your local vet about an appropriate diet to suit your pet’s needs.
There you have it – our handy tips that ensure you are on the right path to responsible pet ownership.
Do you have any questions? Need further advice? Contact your local Medivet practice today – a member of the team will be only too pleased to assist you!
*Allianz Insurance PLC.
Posted April 19, 2016 in Pet Care Advice